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March 8th, 2012 at 8:18:05 AM permalink
What was the most valuable / helpful class you took in high school?

Upon reflection, my answer surprised me.

I'd have to say learning how to touch type in ninth grade has paid the most dividends; this was during the pre-computer era, and I owned a manual typewriter: as my path was college prep, it was a necessary skill to acquire.
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March 8th, 2012 at 8:41:45 AM permalink
One of the few things I've heard my father admit to being wrong about was when he opposed me taking typing in 10th grade. He thought it was clerical work, and that I should aim higher. However, I've been sitting in front of a computer monitor much of the day for 30 years now, pecking away. Thanks to that typing class I'm pretty fast (about 50 WPM), and think it has significantly improved my productivity. It seems to me that proper typing isn't taught any longer, and most people use the hunt and peck method, which is not as fast.
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March 8th, 2012 at 8:48:39 AM permalink
Absolutely it was English. And English Writing. Expressing myself in written form is a genuine pleasure.
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March 8th, 2012 at 8:48:40 AM permalink
Speech class in ninth grade. I had to give several speeches in college courses, and I feel the speech class helped because I learned that if you don't know exactly what you want to say, don't say "ah" "um" etc. Just pause. These were taboo words we were not to use. You appear more confident, and I think when one stumble comes out, they really start to flow, degrading the speech. I feel even when I was not confident in my speech, it appeared better than it was, improving my grade.

It also has helped in job interviews.
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March 8th, 2012 at 8:49:33 AM permalink
And look now at how motivated students are to learn typing that by 9th or 10th grade they can outtype anyone now that the internet is here.

One college freshman applied to the legislature for a staff job and when asked if he could type said No, and I'm not going to learn it. They made him Clerk to the most powerful committee in the legislature. Those who could type got typing jobs.

Type? One computer language just went from deffun to df for Define Function. its faster but is it more readable and understandable?
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March 8th, 2012 at 9:08:26 AM permalink
I can't officially say typing, because I learned to type in 8th grade. I've worked with guys who type with two fingers and I feel sorry for them.

I don't think I can name any one class, but it was the teachers and the classes as a whole.

For instance, Chemistry has little to do with what I do now, but I learned organization skills from that teacher, among other things. In programming class, I acquired a love of problem solving through programming, but the class was more helpful in life because the teacher focused on financial problems - amortization, interest, time value of money, etc.
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March 8th, 2012 at 10:04:03 AM permalink
Literature. I was always a big reader and I still read
for hours a day, on the net mostly. I got thru HS
because I was always reading a book in most of
the classes I was in. Several teachers even told me
I had flunked their class but because I was always
reading they knew I was smart, so they passed me.
In 9th grade I'd already read all the lit books in the
classes ahead of me, cover to cover. I was that guy
in the Twilight Zone episode who just wanted to be
left alone so he could read.
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March 8th, 2012 at 10:07:52 AM permalink
History, Chemistry and Literature.

I would have said English, but I learned that during junior high school with a private teacher. When I took the English grading test for high school, I scored high enough I was not required to take English
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March 8th, 2012 at 10:27:31 AM permalink
Algebra by far.
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March 8th, 2012 at 10:41:50 AM permalink
I'll agree with English/Literature...of course it doesn't hurt that I have a BA in it, lol.
IMHO, being able to understand what you're reading is the absolute most CRITICAL skill in the world...
Gambling calls to this ~>

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